Friday, July 30, 2010

The 2nd Annual Roadie Awards, Volume 3

I believe I was at Saturday morning on my vacation timeline. Which brings me to...

Best Idea for Breakfast in the history of the world: AYCE French Toast at Kneader's. Think about it: It's all you can eat, it's breakfast, it's FRENCH TOAST! I could not believe it. AND best of all, it was actually completely fantastic. The pieces were huge, it came with strawberries and whip cream, and also some sort of narcoticly addicting cinnamon syrup concoction that was to die for. I am still remembering it as a top ten breakfast moment of my life. Put it on your list of things to do in Utah. Well worth the $4.99.

The rest of Saturday was spent doing, what my brother-in-law Robert refers to as "Utah Errands"- so we went to the Church Bookstore, Tai Pan Traders housewares store- and this is what Cindy thought of that little outing:

Mostly due to the fact that she found the best butterfly catching net in that store and mean old Mom would not allow it to be purchased and carried on the plane ride home. We all know who ends up doing the work, okay.

Mom and I also went to the Quilted Bear (Utah Mormon Handicraft store extraordinaire). I did actually find a nice little present for Cindy for Christmas in there. Yay.

That night we did one of my all-time favorite meals- store fried chicken, macaroni salad, chips, beans, rolls- you know, standard picnic fare. I seriously can't get enough of that stuff.

Saturday night we celebrated actual Pioneer Day and the great Legacy of our Mormon Forebears by lying on the blanket in the grass and enjoying some overpriced Chinese-made firework fountains. We even did tanks!!

And somewhere that day, perhaps late at night and in the car, my dad and I composed, what I think is, The Best Poem Written on My Vacation:

(Well, actually I know it is the best poem, because it was the only one)

I once tried to write a haiku
Which proved to be too hard to do
I had a hard time,
making it rhyme
and then learned that haiku's don't.

Good times :) Sunday was a long day for me. Mostly because it was church, but without Jacob and Luke. I really did miss them. And seriously, who has Sacrament Meeting LAST? That was just plain weird! On the up-side however, my cousin Becca had to give her first talk ever in church that day, so we all got to be there! Very cool! And she did a fantastic job. Two thumbs up on that one :) It was after church that we also discovered....

The Best Name in the World for a Street: Cindy Lane.

In fact, their chapel is referred to as "the Cindy Lane Chapel." Because saying just "the Chapel" in Utah is like asking for just "Dr. Patel" when you call the hospital. You have to be a little more specific.

We met up with my Aunt Ann for dinner that night and had a very pleasant evening together. Even learned a new card game, Hand and Foot, that required 7 decks of cards!

Monday we actually headed to Provo for a four-pronged attack. Our mission was to: Shop for Brian and Kelly and fill up their pantry and fridge nice and tight. (Check!) Pop in to the Clyde Building at BYU for a quick surprise visit to my old roomie Krista. (It took two tries, but Check!) Hit the BYU bookstore for some sweet BYU t-shirts and other paraphernalia. (Oh yeah!) Get my glasses fixed because I was a dolt and stepped on them Sunday night. Which I will classify as the...

Best Bad News/Good News Moment of the trip.
Me: "Dang! "my glasses are broken and I have to buy totally new frames!"
Cindy: "Sweet! Mom's glasses are broken and she has to buy totally new frames, which means I get to keep and wear her old ones all day every day!!"

Seriously, Cindy was thrilled. Here we are, two peas in a big goofy pod.

And Cindy and I took this sweet picture at BYU, which was so meant to be. I mean, the ONE day of the trip she decides to wear knee-length shorts was this day. I'm getting a little misty-eyed!

That pretty much wrapped up the trip for my parents, who headed to the airport after that. We said a very heartfelt goodbye to to Aunt, Uncle and cousins. Cindy had to say goodbye to Ginger and Becca a few times to finally break free. (Insert the song "Wind Beneath My Wings" as you view the following pictures...)

My flight left at 1am that night, so I had some time to kill. I was dropped off at Jacob's Grandma's house in Salt Lake for a little visit. We visited with Grandma for a just a while, but enough time in which Cindy could get out all Grandma's music boxes and wind them up for a simultaneous serenade of wonder.

Then Grandma dropped us off at the TRAX station so we could ride it all the way to the Gateway in downtown Salt Lake. We had made plans to see a movie with Nathan and Linnley at 6:30, so we had a nice ride down to meet them. Cindy loved the ride and discovered that they don't really wait very long for you to find a seat :)

Here she is at the Courthouse stop ordering a pizza....

Okay, just goofing around is more like it. My coupon karma was strong that night because I got to use a coupon I caught at the parade on Friday. It was for a kid's meal at Jason's Deli, and there happened to be one right there at the Gateway. Score! It was actually very, very good. They even had free ice cream and free Wi-Fi. Double Score!

Waiting to meet Nathan and Linnley outside...

The movie was pretty good- Despicable Me. If you like Steve Carell you will like this movie. After a pretty darn tasty Oreo chocolate apple for dessert, Nate and Linnley took us to the airport. And so the trip was almost done! The flights home were pretty full and long. Cindy, of course, slept like a log the entire way. I was pretty much in agonizing, aching pain from a horribly uncomfortable sleepless night by the time we landed at 10:15am in Florida. BUT, we got to be there for Brian's big day and be with family to celebrate, so it was all definitely worth it.

And now, a few final awards:

MVP of the entire trip: Oh, Claude! My iPod.

I bought an iPod Touch specifically because I thought it could help with the long travel time for Cindy and boy did it come in handy! I love that thing! It had music, games, my scriptures, notepad for writing down afore-mentioned poems- it just was awesome. I brought a wall charger to keep it powered and it was fantastic. Oh,Claude! I love you.

Best Name for a High School: Bingham High! My cousin graduated from here and I have always been aware of this school, but finally the official photo op came about!

Best Utah-isms I heard while on my trip:
Utah is such a unique place. Only in a mormon-saturated land such as this could you experience things like

Seeing a giant billboard on I-15 advertising "Gourmet Food Storage"


hearing your Sunday School teacher say, "I prepared this lesson while I was at Lagoon yesterday, so my manual is still a bit wet"


telling your aunt that the local Wal-Mart in Florida took out their fabric department completely and having her stare at you blankly and ask, "How else can you make your Trek clothes?"


Stand in the Utah Wal-Mart admiring the entire Food Storage Aisle and have the stock guy tell you, "You should see it at Conference!"


when you ask your brother-in-law how you can tell when the Bountiful parade is over, he says, "Oh, there's a float with a guy saying a closing prayer and it just goes down the street."

Yes, those were some amazing moments. (Totally a joke about the closing prayer float being real. At least I think it's not real...)

Finally, my dear blog readers, I have one more award, and it is for The Most Ridiculous and Confounding thing I have EVER, EVER, EVER seen in SkyMall magazine. EVER. Did I already type the word EVER?
Seriously, we all know that magazine is filled with totally weird, mostly overpriced eccentric stuff. But I am not just talking about a sensor in your house that alerts you when your mail arrives outside in the mailbox, or an indoor dog restroom or even the electric Snuggie. No, I am talking about something so pointless I am still in shock 8 days after I first saw it. I just don't understand it's existence. At all. And so now, brace yourself, for this: (scan down a foot or two)

The Brobdingnagian Sports Chair

And I quote, "This is the portable chair that elevates your physical stature at any outdoor event. Measuring 5-1/2' tall, the chair is certain to provide stadium seating at any venue, and its 9' sq. seat affords ample room for fullbody gesticulations. The lofty seat elevates feet well above the ground, where they're free to dangle and sway. The reinforced powder-coated steel frame and 400-denier rip-stop canvas support up to 400 lbs. The chair folds to just 8-1/2" wide for transport in the included duffle bag." $149.99

DID YOU SEE IT? DO YOU UNDERSTAND IT? No! Of course you don't! No one can! It's just a GIANT CHAIR! Why on earth we need this chair? It just makes the owner look like a hobbit! Can you imagine showing up at your kids' soccer game and sitting in this thing? In the presence of other people? And I am not even going to comment on what "fullbody gesticulations" they are referring to in the description...Oh my goodness. I still refuse to accept that this chair can be justified. It is so utterly bizarre and strange! Why, oh why SkyMall? I pretty much do not have to read that catalogue ever again because nothing can top that. Nothing. For the rest of my life. And Brobdingnagian? Could they pick a more obscure reference than that? I think not! Only my Dad knew what that meant, and if you don't, well, may I refer you to a little thing called Wikipedia? Just type in "worst ideas ever" and this thing will come right up.

So there you have it! Another year, another awards ceremony comes to a close. I guess I better go blow out the giant torch in my backyard. See you next July!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The 2nd Annual Roadie Awards, Volume 2

So now we have come to the actual sealing of Brian and Kelly on Friday afternoon!

After the brunch that morning, we headed to the Temple in downtown Salt Lake City. The only real mishap that occured was Brian forgetting that the marriage license was in his backpack, which was in my parents' rental car. But we got it to him with no problem and that was the only real drama of the day. The sealing was beautiful. The room was a little hot inside, but we all survived and by the end, the Bingham side of the family was bawling their eyes out. Sorry Kelly, that's just how we roll.

I didn't have the best position in the world for this photo when they came out of the temple, but you get the idea. They were smooching! Oh, the scandal!

I am not sure I know anyone as effortlessly photogenic as Kelly. I think she even misplaced her makeup for a time that morning and had very little time to get ready. So gorgeous :)

Best piece of interesting in-law trivia: Kelly is now the second daughter in her family to have parents-in-law named Mike and Linda. Her sister, Stacey (or was it Leslie?) also has them. Isn't that interesting??!! Heck yes, it is!

Most Improved Photographer: Mom! I stole a bunch of pictures off her camera for these posts, and while sometimes the picture quality is not that great, that does mean one thing in certain instances: Mom was using her ZOOM feature!! I am so proud! So here are some fantastic candid shots from mom and her new mad camera skills... Way to go, Mom!

And now I would like to present the Roadie award for Best Way to hold flowers and still look like a Man's Man: Brian.

I could crush these flowers with just my little pinky!!!!

Pretty sweet shots! Mom's Roadie was well, well-deserved :)

Best way to tell a friend you actually hate them: This award goes to Kelly's friends, who this time, after the sealing, saran-wrapped Brian's truck and filled the cab completely with newspaper. It was quite the time trying to get thru all that so they could actually drive it :)

So after pictures were done, we were free to leave! Like I said, with no reception to rush off to, it was perfect! So what was on the agenda for that night??? A sweet little mini family reunion up in Bountiful with Nathan, Linnley, Robert, Brooke and all the kids.

We met up at the Bountiful Pioneer Day parade at about 6:30pm. And....

Most Shocking Thing about the Bountiful Utah Pioneer Day Parade: It's a tie between "It was almost 2 hours long" and "There was a non-LDS church float in the parade." Both of which were totally true! Of course, for Cindy and her cousin, Michelle, the parade being two hours was fantastic. Here they are enjoying themselves:

Among other things, Cindy caught frisbees, freezie pops, popcorn balls, about 17 pounds of useless taffy, suckers, coupons, a bag of peanuts, stickers, frozen yogurt-Were goodies falling from the sky?! Yes, El Guapo....


Best thing being handed out at the Bountiful parade: Lion House Rolls. Did you hear me, they were giving out ROLLS! At a parade! How Mormon can you get, people???

Nathan, Linnley and Robert at the parade. Sweeneys must wear sunglasses. It's in the rules.

Real Salt Lake soccer had this sweet float. Way to represent!

Finally! A picture with the 3 Sweeney sisters-in-law! Linnley on the left and Brooke on the right.

So after getting something to eat and Brooke taking Cindy and her girls to the Bountiful City Fireworks display, we met back at Brooke's parent's house. We just sat in the front yard and talked and let the kids run around. At night. With no bug spray. And it almost got cool enough for a light jacket. Incredible. I would sleep outside every night in the summer in Utah. And of course, Nathan and Robert's stories about each other and the hijinx of their younger years was pretty darn funny.

And now the Roadie for Bestest Uncle goes to: Nathan. I say this because everyone can agree that the cousins know exactly who to go to when they want someone to play with them. And Nathan did not disappoint Michelle and Cindy. He was a genius for coming up with the game of "Throw 12 glow stick bracelets super high in the air and let the kids catch them." The girls were in heaven :)

If you look at this picture at the very top right, you can faintly see the glow sticks. I tried so many times to get this picture to be better, but I did not succeed beyond this.

This takes us through Friday. Whew! I am saving my best stories and awards for last, so tomorrow is going to be crucial. See you then :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The 2nd Annual Roadie Awards, Volume 1

Man, I just really, really love this photo. I think I am going to leave it right here at the top so everyone can bask in its gloriousness.

So I decided to do the write-up of my vacation to Utah by handing out my 2010 Roadie Awards. I know, I know, technically I didn't take a "road trip" to Utah this year, but I was still out travelling and away from home, so the name gets to stay :) I am going to do this in pieces, so here is the first installment:

Cindy and I left last Wednesday morning out of Fort Myers. I thought Cindy would literally combust with excitement by the time we actually got to board the plane. She was freaking out with anticipation. Not so much after we took off and her ears started popping, but I think she still enjoyed her time up in the air.

Which leads me to my first award....

Biggest Nerd on the airplane: ME! As I took pictures of clouds out the window. I just can't resist, I mean, look at these things! So cool!

I was expecting our 3 HOUR layover in Minneapolis, MN to be a beast. We were scheduled to get into Salt Lake at 11:35pm and I hate really late nights. However, after I exited the plane in Minnesota, I checked the board for my connecting gate and saw that both the previous flight to Salt Lake and mine were delayed for an hour each...which meant that the plane that was already supposed to have left for Salt Lake at 6pm was....STILL THERE! RUN!!!

Best Performance in an Airport Drama: Cindy!
When I saw that we might possibly could get on that delayed plane on standby, we booked it! And Cindy was a trooper, she ran and carried her backpack and full-size pilot case the entire way. One end of the airport to the other! It was a haul. But our efforts paid off, we got on standby and got the last two seats on the plane. Boo-yah! 3 hours of waiting around were just avoided. Oh, happy day!!

We stayed the entire week in my Aunt Lori's basement in South Jordan. Which was perfect for many reasons, but if you ask Cindy the best part it was two things: Becca and Ginger. Becca being my 14-year-old cousin who played with and entertained Cindy the entire trip, and Ginger, being Becca's poodle.

Once again, 'Mom' falls 8 places to the bottom of the Totem Pole of Respect.


Best Use of Duct tape I have seen in a long time: Goes to Becca, who made a tye-dye duct tape hat and Super Ginger vest for the dog. Oh yeah!

Yes, Cindy's world revolved around Ginger and Becca. They played games, Cindy and Becca took Ginger on walks, they did tricks with her, Becca and Cindy jumped on the trampoline, they blew bubbles for Ginger to pop- it was a Becca/Ginger-palooza! Becca was way too nice to Cindy :) but that is why we love her.

Becca actually has two more pets, which leads me to...

Best 18-lb frozen turkey disguised as a cat: Okie!

Yes, this is my cousin's cat, Okie. And he is HUGE, as if you couldn't tell. My eyes literally popped out of my head when she pulled him out for a visit. And he is even more funny with his arms in the air! But what cat isn't, right?

Anyway, Brian and Kelly had their reception on Thursday evening, which was the night before the wedding. I think this should be the new standard, because it was fantastic to break it up into two days, instead of one long marathon event. Loved it :) Here are a few pics from that night at Le Jardin, in Sandy, Utah.

It was looking pretty iffy at the start of the evening with Cindy. She was starting to get her attitude and not wanting to smile or take normal pictures. It got a little tense there for a moment, but through the evening she got a little more agreeable. (Especially when the ice cream hit...)

Coldstone creamery catered the event, so everyone got to make a double scoop waffle sundae with any and all toppings they wanted- they had about 12 toppings to choose from- and I think that pretty much everyone agreed it was the best reception food ever!

Can you believe all of these former mission companions happened to be in the area that night? Nothing brings people together like Utah!

The highlight of the reception had to be, I think, when Brian actually played the guitar and sang Kelly a song that he wrote. It was really, really good! And I am not even trying to be biased! It actually sounded like a real song and by the last go round of the chorus I knew the words. It was fantastic. Brian said he was nervous, but I didn't see it. Thumbs up, Brian! You constantly surprise us!

Kelly finally got her ice cream at the very end of the night :)

And now it's time for...

Best Ending to a Wedding Reception: Brian!For getting pulled over by a cop on the way home!

It was all the fault of his so-called "friends", who tied some cans to the bumper of his truck. I guess doing that is really cute and funny, but totally illegal. The cop was pretty nice and no one got fined. The oreos they stuck to the truck however, were another story. I am pretty sure that Brian and Kelly are still out in Utah in their parking lot scrubbing those off at this exact moment...

The next morning we headed to Kelly's parents' house to watch them open all their presents before the wedding brunch at Gardner Village at 11am. Kelly's parents live about 2 minutes from my aunt, so it continued to be meant to be.

Among other things, (other things meaning gift cards and checks) they got some good housewares, games, an ice cream scooper that also makes an excellent back massager, and this sweet Bilbao apron from his former mission president.

And this weird picture came when Brian put a bow on his head and then it fell off.

And so now I present...

Best mispronunciation of a name while reading it on a wedding card: Brian! For telling his father-in-law, Mike, that the card he was opening was from Jean and "Larry-anne"- Yup, we are still chuckling over that one. Actually flat-out laughing our heads off is more like it...

Then it was off to brunch! We had salad, bread, Chicken Florentine or Veggie Pasta and then Carrot Cake or Death by Chocolate. Cindy and I did one of each and it was very good! I even took home a huge thing of bread and half of each of our lunches. Which made a terrific post-church meal on Sunday. Here are some pics of El Bruncho.

Best picture showing a person with their eyes closed: Me! Check out this awesome piece of work:

How do I have only one of my eyes all the way closed? How is this even possible? I look absolutely so bizzare! But it's good for a laugh, so I am sharing it with all of you. I am nothing if not self-deprecating.

On to the wedding! Which you will have to wait one more day for :( Stay tuned...

Oh, and just in case you didn't see this through Facebook...

Best Picture of a Bride and Groom ever: Brian and Kelly!

Does this picture not just ROCK?!